Monkeys were kept tethered and forced to climb trees and pick coconuts for export © PETA
Monkeys were kept tethered and forced to climb trees and pick coconuts for export © PETA

Supermarkets act against monkey labour in coconut supply chain

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
3 July 2020

Supermarkets have acted after an investigation found monkey labour being used in the production of coconut milk.

Morrisons has suspended supply from a brand and Waitrose and Co-op have committed not to sell products sourced from monkey labour following animal rights organisation PETA’s undercover investigation.

PETA visited eight farms in Thailand and found monkeys were chained or confined to cages and forced to climb trees and pick coconuts for export around the world. The group also discovered four “monkey schools” and a coconut-picking competition.

“The animals at these facilities – many of whom are illegally captured as babies – displayed stereotypic behaviour indicative of extreme stress,” said PETA.

PETA said the monkeys picked nuts for coconut milk sold by brands including Chaokoh and Aroy-D. It said more than 15,000 stores would no longer purchase products from these brands.

“These curious, highly intelligent animals are denied psychological stimulation, companionship, freedom, and everything else that would make their lives worth living, all so that they can be used to gather coconuts,” said PETA director Elisa Allen. “PETA is calling on decent people never to support the use of monkey labour by shunning coconut products from Thailand.”

The group said Morrisons had suspended its supply from Chaokoh pending investigation and Walgreens Boots Alliance had committed to not stocking Aroy-D and Chaokoh and not knowingly sell own-brand coconut food and drink products of Thai origin in stores in Thailand, the UK and the US.

A Co-op spokesperson said: “As an ethical retailer, we do not permit the use of monkey labour to source ingredients for our products.”

A Waitrose spokesperson said: “Waitrose & Partners supports PETA’s aim to end the use of monkey labour in the coconut industry. As part of our animal welfare policy we have committed to never knowingly sell any products sourced from monkey labour.”

PETA said Bed Bath & Beyond’s Cost Plus World Market had stopped buying products from Chaokoh. It said Ahold Delhaize and its brands, including Giant Food, Food Lion and Stop & Shop; Hannaford in the US, and Albert Heijn in the Netherlands had pledged to not knowingly stock and sell products from suppliers using monkey labour.

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